Project Director

Eskildsen, Stephen

Department Examiner

Ledoan, Andrew; Hood, Ralph W.; Resnick, Irven M.


Dept. of Philosophy and Religion


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The intellectual inquiry and acquisition of knowledge have always been integral to Islam, right from the first revelation recorded by the Qur’an. This paper aims to examine how the origin, role, and purpose of intellect have been understood in Islamic thought from its inception and through its subsequent evolution. It further aims to discuss the role and purpose that intellect and ethics ought to serve in the faith and lives of contemporary Muslims. Muslim philosophers based their ideas on teachings of the Qur’an and teachings of Prophet Muhammad. They utilized their intellect to share this significant knowledge with their contemporary intellectuals to further human reasoning and inquiry at large. In Islamic thought, Intellect and ethics go hand in hand. A crucial objective here is to determine the essential meaning of Jihad, so as to establish a sound intellectual basis for ethical behavior. Understanding the role that intellect can and should play in a Muslim’s life holds the key to resolving crucial problems that contemporary Muslims face, such as the rise of various forms of fundamentalism and misconceptions of Jihad. I hope to show that Islamic ethics and spirituality grounded in conscientious intellectual inquiry can be instrumental in counteracting and overcoming ignorance and unwarranted violence.


I am very grateful to the Department of Religion at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and The Honors College for its commitment to research and learning, and, in approving of my thesis. Foremost, among my examination committee for the Department Honors (DHON), my sincere gratitude goes to my Honors Thesis Director and my advising Professor, Dr. Stephen, without whose continued guidance and wise counsel, this paper wouldn’t have been properly edited and completed. My thanks go to the Director of DHON, Dr. Andrew Ledoan for his continuous support and help with setting up meetings and paperwork, Dr. Ralph Hood and Dr. Irven Resnick, my esteemed Professors, for their guidance and direction on the thesis. Also, I am very humbled to participate in this department Honors and research in the Qur’an, through which my goal is to bring insights for myself as well as for the readers of this research paper. Lastly, I am very happy and grateful for the support from my family and friends.


B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.




Islamic philosophy; Muslims -- Intellectual life -- Comparative studies


Knowledge; Ethics; Intellect; Islamic thought; Revelation; Ignorance; Divine; Righteousness; Jihad


Islamic Studies

Document Type



vi, 63 leaves







Date Available